Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Pruning out narrow branch forks

     This past week we had some nice weather and I spent some time in the orchard inspecting my young trees for potential tree structural problems. You could say I was on a mission to find and prune out narrow branch forks. The photo at right is a typical example.
    This tree has developed a lower limb that is growing upright and competing with the central leader. Now is the time to prune out this potential problem before I find myself with a forked tree.
    If you take a close look at the narrow branch connection (photo at left), you can see that a bark inclusion has already formed. These type of branch connections are extremely weak and have a tendency to break out during wind storms or under the weight of a heavy nut crop. To prevent future problems, I prune out narrow branch connections whenever I see them.
    Using a saw, I cut off the upright-growing, lower limb all the way back to the main trunk. When removing this branch, I made a 45 degree angle cut which should help the tree heal over the cut surface as quickly as possible (photo at right).